Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert describes Palestinian Authority President and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a “moderate,” saying on Dec. 25, “There are among the Palestinians responsible and moderate sources who openly say they want to make peace with Israel.”

Last week, the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades took credit for firing missiles into the Israeli port city of Ashkelon, narrowly missing the key Ashkelon power station. The Al Aksa Brigades is part of Fatah, the party of Abbas. Following these most recent missile attacks against Israel by a branch of Fatah, Olmert’s press secretary, Miri Eisin, was asked whether Israel would demand that Abbas disband the Al-Aksa Brigades.

Eisin said the Al-Aksa Brigades members firing the projectiles from Gaza into Israel are not affiliated with Fatah and don’t take orders from Abbas. She said the terrorists are simply paid directed by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.

However, Abu Ahmed, the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades leader in the northern Gaza Strip, informed Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily that their terrorists who launch missiles against Israeli targets are loyal to Abbas and that they coordinate “resistance operations” with the Fatah party.

“The Al-Aksa Brigades is the military wing of the Fatah and the President Abu Mazen (Abbas) is the chairman of the movement. We are committed to our leadership, to Abu Mazen. All our activity is in accordance with the political line of Fatah, which consists of fighting the occupation until the creation of a Palestinian state. The rocket shooting is part of this vision,” Abu Ahmed said.

Asked why Abbas distances himself from Al-Aksa’s rocket firing, Abu Ahmed told Klein, “Listen, we are aware of our president’s (Abbas’) declarations, but we are also aware of the international political system that brings the president to adopt this position.”

Abu Ahmed also told Klein that Abbas never asked his group to halt the rocket fire.

“We know what is Fatah’s general political line, and we act according to this line, and I can say that we were never asked to stop shooting rockets. Therefore, the rocket shooting is not in any way harming our loyalty and our commitment to (Abbas) and his leadership.”

Meanwhile, other Al-Aksa Brigades sources said they coordinate their attacks with Mahmoud Dahlan, Abbas’s strongman in Gaza.

“We are still totally committed to Fatah and (Abbas), regardless of help from other groups. The help is sanctioned by Fatah,” a Brigades source said.

Both Israel and the U.S. State Department consider the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades to be an FTO, a “foreign terror organization.”

The Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades, together with Islamic Jihad, has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel over the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis. The Brigades also has carried out scores of deadly shooting and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in recent months.

Last June, Abbas appointed senior al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades leader Mahmoud Damra as commander of Fatah’s Force 17. Damra, who was arrested by Israel in November, was on Israel’s most-wanted list of terrorists.

©The Bulletin 2007

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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